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February 13, 2012 in cake, desserts4 comments

Fairytale Gingerbread Cake

fairytale gingerbread cake

When I told Mom I was thinking of making gingerbread cake, she told me she wasn’t a fan. Which didn’t surprise me a bit. She’s very spice-averse, particularly the warm spices: cloves, nutmeg, ginger. (However, she doesn’t realize that in the past several years she’s become much more tolerant of them. Don’t tell her I told you!)

Then Mom said something that set off happy little bells in my head.

“My mom used to make gingerbread and it was the best thing ever with canned peaches and whipped cream on top.”

Speak of the fruit-devil! I had just opened up a jar of peaches the other day and they had me hooked. They have me hooked. We’d just canned peaches again last summer and I vowed to actually eat them this winter. Damn, nothing better than home-canned peaches in February.

Now, toss those luscious, home-canned peaches atop moist, whole-grain gingerbread? Spray some fun canned whip cream on top?

Where do I sign up? Oh, that’s right. Here! Read more on Fairytale Gingerbread Cake…

german chocolate cake with coconut-pecan frosting

a wee slice of German chocolate cake

Today is Mom’s birthday. Go Mom! I won’t tell you which birthday it is, since she’s a tad shy about that. I’m just gonna say she had me when she was very very young. Nearly criminally young. Not that she’s a criminal. I don’t think.

Got anything to confess, Mom?

Grandma used to make this, her favorite cake, for her on her birthday. Which was pretty nice of her considering she wasn’t her mom, but her mother-in-law.

german chocolate cake

Naturally I assumed it was some secret family recipe, scrawled in chickenscratch cursive on a spattered and yellowed recipe card. Lovingly tucked into a battered tin box. Like something in a soft-focus “Mom, what do you do on those not so fresh days?” commercial.

I asked Mom the other day where to find the recipe.

“It’s on the back of the Baker’s Sweet Chocolate box,” she said.

Oh. Okay, then.

the cake is a lie

It’s not handed down from German immigrants. It’s named after the guy who owned the Baker’s chocolate company. His last name was German. No, it wasn’t German. It was German. As in Bob German. Or Phil German.

I know. It’s confusing. Have some cake; you’ll feel better. And for gods’ sake, whatever you do, do not read the nutrition information at the bottom of the recipe. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

egg whites: soft peaks v. stiff peaks

And the recipe was invented by a homemaker in 1957 and published in a Dallas newspaper. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’m going to keep calling it “German chocolate cake” though. It just makes life easier.

the cake is real. ta da.

Ta da. German chocolate cake

It turned out really well. I used pecans Aunt Geri sent as packing material in the gift box a couple Christmases back. Pretty handy having relatives with pecan trees.

Mom and Sis said it was as good as Grandma made it. It’s a pretty sweet cake, not in the cool sense but in the omg diabetic coma sense. I made it as written, because for some reason my white whole wheat flour, which is my go-to flour for quick substitution, tastes stale. I think it came that way, because I got it into the freezer the moment I brought it home.

So what we have here is a very moist cake made with 4 ounces of sweet German chocolate. It’s a bit labor intensive what with the beating of the egg whites and stuff, but that’s what keeps it light as well. It’s not dense-feeling at all.

buttermilk, pecans, and flour/soda/salt

The frosting is sheer decadence. Four egg yolks, butter, sugar, evaporated milk, sweetened coconut, and chopped toasted pecans. I mean shit, this cake has everything.

Look. You don’t frost the sides. You’re not supposed to frost the sides on this cake. Trust me. You’ve had enough sugar already. I don’t need you bouncing off the walls even more. Read more on german chocolate cake with coconut-pecan frosting…

December 25, 2012 in cake, desserts, holidayno comments yet

Merry Christmas, everyone

Second Empire house from The Gingerbread Architect

And peace on earth.

Back of Second Empire house from The Gingerbread Architect

And good will towards everyone.

Penguins made from sugar paste, 100% edible

Including penguins.

Maggie aka Godzilla

And radioactive monster children.

Sugar penguin just chilling on a melted hard candy lake.

But especially penguins.

Recipe did NOT specify enough shingles. Bad recipe!

Merry Christmas, my little monsters and penguins.

June 18, 2009 in cake, desserts, vegetarian2 comments

strawberry buttermilk shortcake

strawberry buttermilk shortcake

Strawberry season is full-bore, yay! We don’t grow them in our garden, though my grandma used to. Sis has a patch in her garden, though. The only thing fun about picking strawberries is popping them in your mouth while you do it. Otherwise it’s hunched-over, hunt-and-peck labor.

So we order them from a local grower. How do we know when they’re ready? When the ad appears in the local weekly announcing they are taking orders. Then I wind up with 4, 8, 16 quarts or more and knowing what I’ll be doing with some but not all.

And the first thing that gets done with them is to make strawberry shortcake. The recipe is from my dad’s mom, though I can’t guarantee old-world charm: It wasn’t until I was grown up that I discovered their special chocolate chip cookie recipe was the same as the one on the Toll House chocolate chip bag.

It’s a biscuit-like cake, not a sweet, spongy one. Those discs you see in the grocery store? Pure heresy. If you’ve never had a biscuit-like shortcake, you have to try this one. The combination of the barely-sweet buttermilk-scented crumbly cake with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream is to die for. Read more on strawberry buttermilk shortcake…